Archives for March 2017

LWVMA Supports Safe Communities Act—April 5 Lobby Day

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts supports the Safe Communities Act, a bill to protect the civil liberties of all Massachusetts residents, ensure due process rights to people detained for civil immigration violations and ensure police and other local/state law enforcement agencies do not participate in immigration enforcement.

Please join us on Wednesday, April 5, at the State House for Immigrants’ Day, a lobby day in support of this bill, sponsored by the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) organization. Find information about the bill here.

We will be advocating on behalf of the 1 million foreign-born residents of the Commonwealth and talking to our legislators about why they should support the Safe Communities Act and other pro-immigration legislation.

The event begins at 9 a.m. at the State House and lobbying will go until 2 p.m. There will be keynote speakers in the Hall of Flags from 10 to 11 a.m., after which we encourage you to meet with your legislators. There will be a rally outside the State House 1 to 2 p.m.

To register with MIRA click here and for information on Lobby Day click here. Please also email Immigration Specialist Karen Price to let LWVMA know you are coming. MIRA advises everyone to make an appointment in advance with your legislators. You can find your legislators’ contact information here.

The Safe Communities Act is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. James Eldridge (S1305) and in the House by Rep. Juana Matias (H3269) and has over 90 co-sponsors.

Recent executive orders make all noncitizens fair game for immigration enforcement and threaten to withhold federal funding from jurisdictions whose police refuse to detain any individual identified as suspicious by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Complying with these federal detention requests damages the relationship between police and noncitizen community members and their allies, and takes up police time that should be used to enforce state criminal law. It also taxes local financial resources, since cities and states are expected to foot the bill for detention. The Massachusetts Legislature has the means to protect its immigrant population from these federal-state immigration enforcement partnerships by passing the Safe Communities Act.

LWVUS has come out strongly in support of such efforts at the state and local levels. In a 2017 statement it said: “The League supports cities, towns, counties and states that make a decision not to cooperate with federal deportation and enforcement actions that include non-criminal undocumented immigrants.”

The Case for Carbon Pricing Webinar Now Available!

Registration for the webinar featuring renowned historian of climate science, Dr. Naomi Oreskes, filled quickly. Dr. Oreskes makes the case for why “Carbon pricing is the simplest and fairest way to reduce emissions.”

Although there is very little chance of a federal price on carbon right now, several states and regions already have or are moving toward a price on carbon. Results show that the economy can even be stimulated by carbon pricing, giving competitive advantage by advancing more quickly in the renewable and energy efficiencies sectors.

 Giving a background in the economics, Dr. Oreskes explained that the external costs caused by climate change (hurricanes, drought, agricultural disruption, sea level rise) are not reflected in the price of fossil fuels. But someone does pay that price. Economists recognize that external costs are a form of market failure. The most straightforward way to rectify the market failure is to put a price on carbon emissions.

Conservatives don’t like to admit market failure, but perhaps more importantly don’t want to see government intervention to rectify the failure. However, Judge Richard A. Posner, a well-known conservative thinker said, “Behavior that generates large external costs provides an apt occasion for government regulation.”

We are seeing a bit of political opening.  Republicans are recognizing that there is a need to remedy the market failure, and that the easiest way is carbon pricing.

In a final statement, Dr. Oreskes said that in addition to reducing emissions, “Carbon pricing maximizes industry flexibility and consumer choice.”  See Dr. Oreskes’ slides and handouts provided in the session: Carbon Pricing Methods, Carbon Pricing in North America, and Carbon Pricing Resources. You will find the webinar here. Dr. Oreskes presentation begins at 5:47 minutes.

LWVMA 2015-16 Annual Report Now Available

We are pleased to share the 2015-16 Annual Report of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.  The report recaps an extraordinary year of advocacy, voter engagement, and citizen education and celebrates the work of our local Leagues throughout the Commonwealth. Many thanks to our members and supporters for helping us Make Democracy Work!

To download and view the 2015-16 Annual Report as a pdf, click here.